Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #17: Favorite Classical Compositions

Thirteen Favorite Classical Compositions

You can all blame the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra for this one. Tonight was the third of the six-week "Concerts on the Square"series that runs this time every summer. The concerts are free to attend, and are performed on the grounds of the state capitol, with some 20,000 in attendance each week, depending on the weather and special guests. Last week the crowd completely circled the Square and spilled out into the streets. With much cooler temperatures, this week's attendance wasn't quite what it was last week, but crowded just the same.

So far this summer the concerts have been an interesting experience in that we played at least one number from every performance when we were in high school. Week one there was a piece by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Beethoven’s “Pastorale” (Symphony No. 6). Last week it was “1812 Overture.” Tonight…well, I’ve been humming the “Russian Sailor’s Dance” since the WCO performed it. Funny, though my friend KM and I both remembering playing it, I could not find any record of it in my old music folder (which, granted, is not complete as there was some music we were not allowed to copy or keep) or in old music programs. Still, I know we played that piece of music.

All this to say that this week’s Thursday Thirteen was inspired by tonight’s concert: Thirteen of my favorite classical compositions.

1. “Russian Sailor’s Dance” from The Red Poppy ballet (Glière) – A fun, lively piece of music. Difficult to get out of your head once in there.

2. “Brandenburg Concertos 3 and 5” (Bach) – Yup, played these too. Been a while since I last listened to them. Might have to pull out the CDs....

3. “Canon in D” (Pachelbel) – Sure, it’s been overused for everything from weddings to light bulb commercials, but it’s still a beautiful piece of music and one I always loved playing—so relaxing and easy to get lost in the melody.

4. “Romeo & Juliet” overture (Tchaikovsky) – It took us nearly the entire piece of music to remember which commercial(s) are responsible for its familiarity to the general public: the “I can’t believe it’s not Butter” commercials with Fabio. LOL

5. “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (Mozart) – Just as long as I don’t have to march to it! See “Marching to Mozart” in sidebar if you missed it. *wink*

6. “1812 Overture” (Tchaikovsky) – Yes, we played this. Junior year in high tour to schools in the Green Bay area. Long as heck (your arm gets tired holding your instrument up that long), but fun to play!

7. “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” (Rachmaninof) – Beautiful piece of music, light and airy.

8. “Sleigh Ride” (Mozart) – Lively and fun. Our orchestra instructor often used this piece as a bribe—we couldn’t play it unless we got through the other pieces she had planned for the day’s class. Worked almost every time! This is another piece I know we played for a winter concert, but I could not find the program for it—which is weird as I saved every one.

9. “English Idylls” (Butterworth) – These were selections I’d never heard of before the WCO performed them a few years ago—beautiful, soft and lyrical…perfect for a languid summer’s eve.

10. “Cavalleria Rusticana” (Mascagni) – I found the sheet music for this one, even though I honestly don’t remember playing it. Guess there’s a reason it has always seemed so familiar. Beautiful and dreamy, could listen to it again and again.

11. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (Bach) – I hesitate to include this one as it is quite over-played, but it was one of the first pieces I learned by heart so in it stays. That is not to say that I can still play it by memory, mind you. I uh…don’t exactly keep up with my violin as I should. Of course, it'd probably help if I replaced that broken E string...

12. “Appalachian Spring” (Copeland) – Another great piece of music by the man who is probably America's best-known composer.

13. “Nessun Dorma” (Puccini) – Another overused piece of music, particularly in the world of figure skating, but what can we expect of such a beautiful, expressive composition?

Granted, I could include many more–but then it wouldn't be called the Thursday Thirteen. What about you? Do you have a favorite classical piece of music?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Elle 2. Jennifer McK 3. Kissa 4. Jennifer Bianco
5. Jenna 6. Laura 7. Maria 8. Shelley 9. Debbie
10. Paige 11. Emma Rose 12. Amelia
13. Jennifer Shirk 14. JAC 15. Tempest 16. Savannah
17. Rhonda 18. Lia 19. Lis

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Tempest Knight said...

Oh, I agree with you on Bach's Brandenburg concertos and Mozart's sonata. I also like Beethoven's "Für Elise" and his 9th. Symphony. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yes. I like 5 & 6 as well.

And Tchaikovsky Symphony #6 and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. :)

Elle Fredrix said...

Canon in D! That is one of the pieces I often listen to when writing. (I can't listen to anything with words while writing)
And I have some really interesting improvisations of it too.

Jennifer McK said...

OMG! Heather! I had no idea you used to play the violin. I sang Copeland's "Appalachian Spring". I too have a box of music that holds most of the choir pieces I sang in High School and the first year of college.
My absolute favorite? Hmmmm there's three. Verdi's "Three Sacred Songs", Benjamin Britten's "A Ceremony Of Carols" and Mozart's "Requiem". The last one I never sang in choir, but I love to listen to it.

Debbie Mumford said...


Paige Tyler said...

Great list! Love number five!


My TT is at

Jenifer Bianco said...

What a fabulous list! :)

Amelia June said...

I have to admit I'm ignorant of classical music--but I do love Puccini from my dance days. Ah, high school...

Night Diva Maria said...

Love the classics! Too bad I rarely know the titles :P great topic!

Heather said...

Jennifer McK~ Yup, I played violin through junior year in HS. I had to drop it senior year due to schedule conflicts and really missed it. Very cool that you sang Copland. I like his "Portrait of Lincoln" too.

Amelia~ You're probably not as ignorant as you think. Most people who grew up on Warner Bros. cartoons would be surprised how much classical music was employed in them, for example: The Rabbit of Seville.

Great to see so many like the same pieces of music or composers!

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Lovely!! Oh, I love me a good classical performance. I was in band all through school and college...*sigh* miss those nerdy band days... :D

Heather said...

Hey, I used to hang out with some of those nerdy band people - when I wasn't with the cool orchestra people, of course. ;)